Saturday, August 14, 2004

Dog Walks

I went out with Hank today, actually walking her on a leash. It goes something like this: she zooms forward like mad, me being dragged behind like one of those people hanging from a moving car in an old tv crime series, then she stops to sniff at some interesting pee and I come to a halt, rise up, shake the dust off and inspect the new wounds. Then she spots a squirrel or a cat and the thing repeats itself. So I don't do walking-on-a-leash very much, except with Henrietta, of course, who has taught me to heel very well indeed. (And don't give me advice on how to train Hank; she's untrainable, and I have many dog-trainers' written affidavits on that.)

But today was a little different, as I took Hank for a run, several swims and mudpool baths first. She was somewhat calmed by all this activity and actually stayed within the usual bounds of a leash-walked dog. We passed by an outdoor cafe with several people, and they all got up to coo and goo over Hank. (This is something I have not mentioned before. Hank is very cute. For some reason her shape never changed from that of a Labrador puppy, and she also has a puppy face. So people want to eat her and stuff.)

Can you imagine how hard it is to stave people off the idea of getting a Labrador puppy when Hank looks angelic? I had to work so damn hard, telling them about the koprophagia and vomiting and the need for three hours' running a day and the fact that Labrador puppies eat the house and how you can't sleep through a full night for months. When that wasn't enough I had to tell them about her being a Bush-lover (this is a solid libural area), but they were just not convinced. Then Hank did a round of groin poking with her freshly mudded snout and that cooled some of them. But I fear I have spread doom and despondency by my careless act of taking Hank out.

This is very different from walking Henrietta, of course. She's so perfect that you'd never know I'm the one who is heeling, obeying and taking commands. We stop at all traffic lights, look first left and then right and then left again, wait until the road is clear and then cross quickly. We hold long conversations about the deteriorating urban architecture and the poor taste in human fashions and the total pointlessness of having cats exist. When we meet humans, Henrietta leaps backwards, raises her hackles, bares her teeth and wags. So we are left alone, pretty much. When we meet dogs Henrietta waits until they pass by and then bites them in the butt. Friendly-like, of course.

Walking the two together is something I've only ever done once. I had to take to my bed for a week afterwards. Now I just load them into the car using the shortest exit route from the house, and pray that nobody is made deaf by the barking.